The Supreme Court has not decided a seminal personal jurisdiction case in nearly 25 years, according to procedural scholars. The justices may fill that void this term in two key cases involving the authority of state courts to assert jurisdiction over foreign corporations in product liability cases.

The justices heard back-to-back arguments on Tuesday in those cases — J. McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro and Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations v. Brown.

The arguments probed the limits and appropriateness of various court tests for finding so-called specific and general jurisdiction. They also, however, revealed how thorny the issue of jurisdiction can become in today’s global economy with the far-flung operations of many corporations as well as the potential impact of Internet business operations.

Collyn Peddie of the Law Office of Collyn Peddie in Houston, Texas, represents the families of two teenage boys from North Carolina who were killed in a bus accident in France. Tires manufactured by Goodyear Luxembourg allegedly caused the accident. Making her first Supreme Court appearance, Peddie argued that North Carolina has general jurisdiction over the foreign subsidiary of Goodyear.

Peddie, who specializes in appellate law, is no stranger to the high court. She successfully petitioned for review last summer in a childhood vaccine case involving federal preemption — Bruesewitz v. Wyeth — which was argued in October by David Frederick, partner in Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. The case is pending decision.

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